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    Bashas’ Refinances Secured Debt

    Relationship established with new lender group

    Bashas’ Family of Stores, the largest family-owned grocer in Arizona and the 15th-largest privately held supermarket chain in the United States, has refinanced its secured debt with a new lender group.

    The Chandler, Ariz.-based grocer has joined forces with Wells Fargo Capital Finance, Tennenbaum Capital Partners LLC, GB Merchant Partners LLC and an affiliate of Stone Tower Capital LLC. Bashas’ will operate with a revolving line of credit from Wells Fargo and a four-year term loan arranged by GA Capital LLC.

    The grocery chain voluntarily filed for Chapter 11  in July 2009, emerging from bankruptcy in August 2010 when its plan of reorganization, co-sponsored by the official joint committee of unsecured creditors, was approved by the court.

    “This new banking relationship demonstrates lenders’ confidence in Bashas’ Family of Stores,” said Darl Andersen, the grocer’s president and CEO. “Our improved operations put the company in a position to be attractive to new lenders. This allowed us to restructure our secured debt faster than planned.”

    According to Bashas’ executives, the refinancing enables it to operate under normal business circumstances instead of relying solely on its own cash, thereby providing greater financial security and stability in the midst of a challenging economy.

    As part of the refinancing, Bashas’ has completely repaid its secured lenders, including Prudential and its previous banking groups. The grocer will continue to make scheduled payments to its unsecured creditors, mainly vendors, in accordance with its reorganization plan.

    “We are grateful to our vendors for returning our company back to regular purchase terms much faster than we anticipated,” said Edward “Trey” Basha, VP of retail operations. “We’re especially thankful for our loyal customers who have stood by us, and tell us that we’ve become more competitive with our pricing and offerings. We will never forget Friends of Bashas’ and other supporters who rallied the community to shop our stores. Most of all, we are deeply indebted to our employees for their dedication and support during these difficult times.”

    Added Basha: “While we continue to operate in a challenging recession, we remain true to our commitment to become a stronger company. We’ve come a long way, and this refinancing gets us one step closer to restoring our company to a strong financial position.”

    Bashas’ is marking its 80th anniversary in 2012.

    With more than 8,000 members and 129 grocery stores, family-owned Bashas’ operates Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods, Sportsman’s Wine & Spirits, Eddie’s Country Store, and both Bashas’ and Bashas’ Diné supermarkets.

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